Posted by Editoress on 02/9/03
Telekom Malaysia Tour de Langkawi
This report made possible by Human Kinetics Publishers
Stage 10: Kuala Lumpur Criterium
The Tour de Langkawi finished on an anti-climactic note, with the final circuit race through Kuala Lumpur not counting in the general classification after the organizers decided to neutralize it when rain began to fall. Ruben Bongiorno pipped Panaria team mate and Green Jersey holder Graeme Brown at the line to take the stage win, with every rider given the same finishing time. Gord Fraser was the top Canadian finisher, in sixth place
After the race, Green expressed himself satisfied with his result.
"I feel really good about my race, I know that I had the form to win the race. All my career people have been telling me that I can't climb, that I am too big, and now I have proved that I can do it. This sets the stage for me to move on to do bigger races in the future.
"I think there should have been two or three hard mountain stages, because most of the race was flat with sprints. I hope that if I do come back, they add more interesting stages."
Green added that his race is making him reconsider his plan to do only the time trial at the Hamilton world championships this fall. "It all depends on how many spots Canada gets, but I'm starting to think that the road race is a possibility."
- Roland Green took home approximately $20,000 (Canadian) for his KoM title, days in the KoM jersey and second place in the first stage.
- Gord Fraser came frustratingly close yet again, but was boxed in after the rider in front of him unclipped before the line. "It was disappointing. I was in good position with 300 metres to go, on Pagliarini's wheel. He hesitated, then the Fakta guy unclipped and I was pinned in. I feel better about my race though; the sprint was the best one I did all race."
- Continuing with Gord, he had both good and bad things to say about the project. "It was great to ride with guys like Roland and Peter, who I haven't ridden with (on a national team project) in 10 years. But the support from the CCA has to be more serious, it was discouraging after the effort all the guys put into this project. Having said that, the staff was totally awesome, and made it totally stress free for us."
Fraser also expects to know who he will be riding for within the next week or two. He expects that it will either be Health Net in the U.S., or the Belgium Marlux-Ville de Charleroi squad. "Hopefully it will all work out. I still have a lot to offer to a team, all I need is a pilot and I'll be back on the podium."
- Seamus McGrath may be the next mountain biker to take up the road, after his strong performance here (21st at Genting, 23rd overall). "I had actually hoped to do better, but a bit of bad luck (Green's flat and a crash) lost me some time. It was a good experience, I'd like to come back next year and build on what I've learned. This definitely helps get me leaning towards the road, and I will be reevaluating after Athens."
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